Project Details


DESCRIPTION: (Applicant's Abstract)

Prenatal cocaine exposure likely has profound consequences for infants'
emotional behavior in response to frustration and/or challenge. This
project examines the mediating effect of stress reactivity on the relation
between cocaine exposure and emotion expression and regulation. It is our
hypothesis that prenatal cocaine exposure results in an altered reactivity
to stress which leads to dysfunctional emotional regulation. Two
longitudinal studies are proposed. One study of infants at 2, 6, 12, and 18
months of age will assess relations between cocaine exposure, altered stress
reactivity, and dysfunctional emotional regulation. Given that prenatal
cocaine exposure adversely impacts on stress reactivity, another aim of this
project is to determine whether there are exposure group differences in
infants' abilities to regulate stress when presented with stress reducing
procedures. Normative research with newborn infants has found that the
taste of sucrose has a powerful calming effect when compared to other
substances such as water (and to different calming agents like pacifiers).
The second study will examine the relative calming efficacy of sucrose (as
opposed to water or no treatment) on stress regulation in newborns and
12-month-olds as a function of prenatal cocaine exposure. It is our
hypothesis that cocaine exposure is associated with a diminished sucrose
calming effect at birth. In light of normative evidence for a sucrose
calming effect throughout infancy, this study also will test for exposure
group differences in sucrose calming efficacy on stress regulation at 12
months of age. In both studies, the effects of both medical and
environmental risk will be considered in evaluating the effects of prenatal
cocaine exposure.
Effective start/end date4/20/973/31/02


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: $420,830.00
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse


  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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